To cook or what to cook…that is the question

image 'Through the kitchen door'

Today I am going to write about something a little lighter than my first post, yet it is a subject that I have found can cause me much grief in more ways than one…cooking!

In my case, there is just the two of us; myself as the mother and my son the child.  It is not so easy to cook for two! I love cooking and I love exploring the art of cooking, yet I feel restricted. I feelrestricted due to the statistic of being one adult and one child.  I feel restricted because I have a lack of finances and I hate the thought of wasting anything and feeling limited in what I can buy. I am restricted as a child’s palate is different to an adults taste and desires in food preference. I would like to cook my way, yet I cannot always be the masterchef I dream of.

With this in mind, I created a little survey amongst fellow single parents I know to see their response on this issue.

How do you manage your shopping

Cheryl a Mother of three said she manages her shopping by luck and hopes there is enough money to get what required.

Jo a Mother of four always buys chicken as a base ingredient when shopping. Jo said all her children only eat ‘homemade’ food and not packaged which also includes deserts and treats.  Waiting to see what specials are on offer at the supermarket is another way Jo manages her shopping.

Similar to Jo, Janine a Mother of two, also waits to see what specials are available at the time of shopping. Janine finds having a running shopping list helps her to not wander off and buy unnecessary things which keeps the cost down. Shopping when the kids are at school is the way Janine normally purchases her groceries and this also keeps the price down as there is no nagging for certain treats and desserts.

Do you feel restricted in cooking

In answer to this question, Cheryl replied, “Yes, there is often not enough to buy the ingredients you need and want, and you have to deal with second best”.

Jo feels the same sentiments as Cheryl and is a little more expressive in her response.  Jo said it is defiantly restrictive and more so as one of her children only prefers basic foods.

“This restricts me in what I make for myself and the rest of the family and it drives me f***ing crazy”.

In contrast Janine does not feel restricted and is mindful of spending too much when doing the groceries. Janine said she has started to go back to basics and eats similar food she grew up on like casseroles and pies etc.

“They’re cheaper to make from scratch, healthier and left overs are often used by the kids for lunch the next day”, Janine said.

Do you compensate this restriction

Sadly like so many of us, Cheryl does not compensate by eating out regularly and is not able to explore foods they would not normally have.

Jo on the other hand does eat out a lot, but in a unusal and sometimes awkward moment for Mum, one of her son’s who only eats tuna, takes along a can with them to have with boiled rice. On the alternative, her son may have a plate of chips, yet this causes much frustration for Jo as he will not experiment with different foods.

As a treat rather than eating out, Janine enjoys making pizza and wraps with her kids using whatever ingredients already in the fridge.

Janine said “The kids make their own and they think it is more fun and it is healthier for all of us too”.

What are your favourite recipes

Here is the fun part, the recipes and many are similar with the women I interviewed, yet they are popular, easy to make and affordable which is the language we all like to hear.

Cheryl’s family favourites are: Spaghetti bolognese, mashed potato with sausages and gravy, roast pork and roast chickens.

Jo’s favourite in her household is: Homemade lasagna and Spaghetti Bolognese, Schnitzel, chips and salad, Tacos, Homemade Chicken soup, BBQ with salad and cheese and potato bake.

For Janine’s tribe, their favourite recipes are Tuna Pasta Bake, Shepherd and Cottage Pie and Curried Sausages with rice.

It is a given that cooking for a household of any shape and size has its frustrations and limitations.  I know for myself as I have mentioned earlier, I find cooking for only my son and myself very restrictive in more ways than one. In my response to the questions above, I would say the best way I manage my shopping is to think ahead and envision meals which can be easten over two days or frozen for another day. I am fortunate that my son is a great eater in many ways and always attempts to eat what is placed in front of him. I have to hide the zucchini, cauliflower and mushrooms which I do through cooking such things as fried rice and spaghetti Bolognese. I grate certain foods in pasta and on ou hommade pizza’s so it is hidden and he is unaware of what is actually going into his mouth.  There has been times I must admit, where I have been caught out at the register and I do not have enough money to buy what is in my trolley or basket.  In cases like this, I sheepishly put the goods aside, yet we never starve. My son eats extremely well and I think planning ahead is the best option. Finding ways to compensate financially and discovering alternative methods in our cooking can also help us adults to enjoy eating the foods we love.

In saying this, I do know of parents who struggle on such a level to get their children to eat, let alone the other challenges ones do face.  Perhaps getting cook books they can choose themselves and ask them to pick a recipe once a week or fortnight in which they can cook may assist with building their love of food. If all else fails, I am so sorry and just hope that over time, things get better. Know you are not alone and there is always someone out there who matches our experiences and perhaps may even have a worse case than ours.

Below are some recipes you can use and if you have any recipes, ideas and suggestions towards cooking you would like to share, please do as I am always open to hear new ideas and taste new foods.

Spaghetti Bolognese with hidden vegetables                                    Deli pasta

image & recipe from Kid Spot

image & recipe by annabel karmel

         Veal Parmigiana                                                    Easy to make crustless Quiche

image & recipe from Kid Spot

     Chocolate Muffins                                                       Quick & Easy Biscuits

images & recipe from

image & recipe from Kid Spot

                                                                                  Caramel Sauce & Fresh Fruit

image & recipe from

One comment on “To cook or what to cook…that is the question

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